Little evidence for any direct impact of national cancer policies on short-term survival in England and no evidence for a reduction in socioeconomic inequalities in cancer survival. Findings emphasise that socioeconomic inequalities in survival remain a major public health problem. | London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine | British Medical Journal
New research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that despite overall improvements in cancer survival, the gap in survival between the most affluent and most deprived groups of patients remains unchanged for most cancers.
Survival trends were examined for 21 cancers in men and 20 cancers in women.
For each cancer, the chances of survival at one year after diagnosis were estimated separately for men and women in five levels of socio-economic deprivation, from the most affluent to the most deprived, and in each of the three calendar periods.
Researchers focused on one-year survival because most of the inequalities in cancer survival in England arise shortly after diagnosis. The survival estimates were corrected for the risk of dying from other causes of death. Estimates were also adjusted for differences in the age profile of cancer patients between men and women, and over time.
The “deprivation gap” in survival between the most affluent and most deprived groups of patients remained unchanged for most cancers. There was a clear and persistent pattern of lower survival among more deprived patients. It narrowed slightly for some cancers, where one-year survival was already more than 65% in 1996, such as cervical cancer and skin melanoma in men. By contrast, the deprivation gap in survival widened between the late 1990s and 2013 for brain tumours in men and lung cancer in women.
Full story at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Link to the research: Aimilia Exarchakou et al. (2018). Impact of national cancer policies on cancer survival trends and socioeconomic inequalities in England, 1996-2013: population based study. BMJ.